Irvin Khoza: Fan violence threatens the very fabric of our society
Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson Dr Irvin Khoza has apologised for the violence after Saturday’s Nedbank Cup semifinal and promised strong action in the coming weeks and months.
Hideous scenes greeted the final whistle that confirmed Kaizer Chiefs’ 2-0 loss to Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida stadium on Saturday night. Fans lit fires in the stands, threw vuvuzelas and bottles onto the pitch and then stormed it.
Khoza, speaking on behalf of the PSL, condemned the violence and placed the blame firmly on criminal elements mingling in with supporters.
“The league is shocked and extremely concerned at this violence and criminality that occurred. I want to make it clear that there is no justification or place for violence in football or in our society.
“These acts are not coincidental. They are deliberate, pre-meditated and orchestrated by people whose aim is criminality and an infringement on the majority who are peace-loving and law-abiding.”
Khoza went on to apologise to all stakeholders, sponsors, broadcasters and those injured in the events.
“It is important that we take into consideration the motive and harm that these criminals seek to inflict. It goes beyond football because there is a toll that these acts have on the nation’s people. The imagery in on television and in the newspapers is not good for our country.
“If we do not stop this rising tide of destruction, we will destroy the very fibre of our nation.It is particularly important that those who inflict this criminality are not seen to get away with it. Condemnation by words alone is not enough. Action, both preventative and remedial, is necessary,” Khoza said.
Khoza said he is unable to reveal the state of the league’s investigation but promised a thorough investigation, and severe consequences for anyone found to be behind the violence. He went on to reveal that all stadium processes, before, during and after games, could likely be revisited.
“Fans who commit crimes should be identified, prosecuted and arrested.”
In one particular video circulated on social media after Saturday night, fans were seen attacking a security guard, initially believed to be a woman, hitting him with chairs and kicking him the head. Khoza revealed the 38-year-old man has since been discharged from hospital. “No one is deceased,” he added.